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Early Learning Centre in Bradford to close
11:00am Wednesday 5th September 2012 in News
A long-standing city centre toy shop is set to close in another dent in Bradford's retail offering.
The Early Learning Centre, in Market Street, is advertising a closing down sale on a blackboard outside the branch, which has operated on the site for many years.
Early Learning Centre, which sells toys and games for babies and toddlers, opened its first store in the mid-1970s and now has 215 UK stores and more than 80 international stores in 19 countries .
Parent group Mothercare also has a store at the Forster Square retail park, which includes an Early Learning Centre Mothercare has announced plans to close 110 outlets and focus on out-of-town superstores after seeing profits plunge by 70 per cent last year.
The new focus will be on out-of-town Parenting Centres, which contain the Early Learning Centre brand. Most of the closures will be stores where the lease expires over the next two years.
The latest blow followed a report this week which claimed Bradford no longer ranks among the worst ten areas in the country for the number of empty shops, according to figures which show its vacancy rate has fallen to 21.6 per cent.
This time 12 months ago, Bradford had the fifth-highest shop vacancy rate of all large towns and cities in Great Britain, at 26.8 per cent. The half-yearly study, compiled by the Local Data Company, showed the national average vacancy rate for Great Britain was 14.6 per cent, which rose to 17.6 per cent in Yorkshire.
Bradford came out better than other large centres such as Nottingham, Walsall and Stockport, which had the highest vacancy rates.
Meanwhile, the owner of Johnson Cleaners revealed it has closed 103 branches. The move leaves two local branches at the Asda supermarket in Pudsey and at Guiseley . Almost a quarter of its 460-strong estate was lost as the dry cleaner stripped out loss-making stores.